Martial Adept (3.5e Class)

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Martial Adept
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Martial Adept[edit]

Martial adepts are similar to monks, but while the monk gathers his abilities through mystical training and honing of their internal ki energy, the martial adept channels raw arcane power. The martial adept’s training teaches him to focus his raw emotions in order to gather and release this power. Martial adepts are similar to sorcerers in that their magical abilities are not taught in the classroom, but by experience and through their masters’ often cryptic instruction. Once a martial adept has his abilities unlocked through long and rigorous training, he is thrust out into the world to find his way. Only once he has mastered his emotions and is able to channel his power without losing control may he return to his master to learn the ultimate secrets of the path that he walks.

Many falter along the way, but those who manage to find the truth of this path are extremely dangerous opponents.

Making a martial adept[edit]

Martial adepts fill a similar role as monks and rangers in a party. They are lightly armored, but pack a serious punch. While their spells are limited and not gained until later levels, they can add survivability, offense or buffs to the party and their weapon charges can debuff enemies. By tailoring their ability and spell choices they can fill in as a front line fighter, a ranged striker or as a nimble flanking skirmisher.

Abilities: As with all martial characters, a martial adept will want to focus on their physical characteristics primarily. If the character is going to be dual wielding or using a ranged weapon, then Dexterity will be the most important stat. If the character will be using a two-handed weapon, then Strength should be considered more heavily. While their spellcasting can provide good defensive buffs to them at higher levels, their armor class will not be very high in the beginning so a decent Constitution will be desirable. Charisma is their spellcasting stat and it also factors into other abilities of the class so it should not be overlooked.

Races: Any race may become a martial adept.

Alignment: Any

Starting Gold: 1d4 x 5 gp

Starting Age: Simple


Table: The Martial Adept

Hit Die: d8

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Saving Throws Special Spells per Day AC Bonus
Fort Ref Will 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
1st +1 +0 +2 +2 Weapon Charge (1) +0
2nd +2 +0 +2 +2 Evasion, Ability +0
3rd +3 +1 +3 +3 +0
4th +4 +1 +4 +4 Ability 1 +1
5th +5 +1 +4 +4 Weapon Charge (2) 1 +1
6th +6/+1 +2 +5 +5 Ability 2 +1
7th +7/+2 +2 +5 +5 Weapon Charge (move) 2 +1
8th +8/+3 +2 +6 +6 Ability 2 1 +2
9th +9/+4 +3 +6 +6 Improved Evasion 2 1 +2
10th +10/+5 +3 +7 +7 Weapon Charge (3), Ability 2 2 +2
11th +11/+6/+1 +3 +7 +7 2 2 1 +2
12th +12/+7/+2 +4 +8 +8 Ability 3 2 2 +3
13th +13/+8/+3 +4 +8 +8 Weapon Charge (swift) 3 2 2 +3
14th +14/+9/+4 +4 +9 +9 Ability 3 2 2 1 +3
15th +15/+10/+5 +5 +9 +9 Weapon Charge (4) 3 3 2 2 +3
16th +16/+11/+6/+1 +5 +10 +10 Ability 3 3 3 2 +4
17th +17/+12/+7/+2 +5 +10 +10 Timeless Body 4 3 3 2 +4
18th +18/+13/+8/+3 +6 +11 +11 Ability 4 4 3 3 +4
19th +19/+14/+9/+4 +6 +11 +11 4 4 4 3 +4
20th +20/+15/+10/+5 +6 +12 +12 Weapon Charge (5), Ability 4 4 4 4 +5

Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
The martial adept’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), and Tumble (Dex). .

Class Features[edit]

All of the following are class features of the martial adept.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Martial adepts are proficient with the club, crossbow (light and heavy), dagger, handaxe, javelin, kama, nunchaku, quarterstaff, sai, shortspear, short sword, shuriken, siangham, sling, and spear. In addition, a beginning adept may choose any one martial weapon to have proficiency in. All martial adepts begin with the Improved Unarmed Strike feat for free. Martial adepts are not proficient with any armor or shields.


Spells: Beginning at 4th level, a martial adept gains the ability to cast a small number of arcane spells, which are drawn from the martial adept spell list. He can cast any spell he knows at any time without preparing it ahead of time, assuming he has not yet used up her allotment of spells per day for the spell's level. To cast a spell, a martial adept must have a Charisma score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a martial adept’s spell is 10 + the spell level + the adept’s Charisma modifier.

Like other spellcasters, a martial adept can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. His base daily spell allotment is given on Table: The Martial Adept. In addition, he receives bonus spells per day if he has a high Charisma score. A martial adept's selection of spells is extremely limited. Refer to Table: Martial Adept Spells Known for the number of spells the martial adept knows at any given level. (Unlike spells per day, the number of spells a martial adept knows is not affected by his Charisma score.)

Upon reaching 8th level, and at every third martial adept level thereafter (11th, 14th …), a martial adept can choose to learn a new spell in place of one he already knows. In effect, the adept “loses” the old spell in exchange for the new one. The new spell's level must be the same as that of the spell being exchanged, and it must be at least one level lower than the highest-level martial adept spell he can cast. The martial adept may swap out only a single spell at any given level and must choose whether or not to swap the spell at the same time that he gains new spells known for the level.

Through 3rd level, a martial adept has no caster level. At 4th level and higher, his caster level is equal to his martial adept level – 3.


Martial adepts choose their spells from the following list:


1st— endure elements, protection from Chaos/Evil/Good/Law, shield, obscuring mist, comprehend languages, detect secret doors, true strike, burning hands, shocking grasp, ventriloquism, chill touch, expeditious retreat, feather fall, jump, magic weapon.


2nd— protection from arrows, resist energy, acid arrow, fog cloud, detect thoughts, see invisibility, daze monster, gust of wind, scorching ray, shatter, blur, invisibility, blindness/deafness, bear’s endurance, bull’s strength, cat’s grace, darkvision, levitate, pyrotechnics, spider climb, whispering wind.


3rd— dispel magic, nondetection, protection from energy, stinking cloud, sleet storm, arcane sight, tongues, heroism, hold person, rage, displacement, invisibility sphere, vampiric touch, blink, fly, gaseous form, haste, keen edge, greater magic weapon, water breathing.


4th— lesser globe of invulnerability, stoneskin, dimension door, solid fog, detect scrying, locate creature, fire shield, shout, wall of fire, wall of ice, greater invisilibility, stone shape.


Table: Martial Adept Spells Known
Level Spells Known
1st 2nd 3rd 4th
1st
2nd
3rd
4th 2
5th 3
6th 3
7th 3
8th 4 1
9th 4 2
10th 4 2
11th 5 2 1
12th 5 3 2
13th 5 3 2
14th 6 3 2 1
15th 6 4 3 2
16th 6 4 3 2
17th 6 4 3 3
18th 6 5 4 3
19th 6 5 4 4
20th 6 5 4 4


AC Bonus (Su): When unarmored and unencumbered, the martial adept adds his Charisma bonus (if any) to his AC. In addition, a martial adept gains a +1 bonus to AC at 4th level. This bonus increases by 1 for every four martial adept levels thereafter, up to a maximum of +5 at 20th level.

These bonuses to AC apply even against touch attacks or when the adept is flat-footed. He loses these bonuses when he is immobilized or helpless, when he wears any armor, when he carries a shield, or when he carries a medium or heavy load.


Weapon Charge (Sp): Part of what makes martial adepts such fearsome foes is their ability to charge their weapons with elemental energy. Charging a weapon is a standard action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity. Once charged, the weapon holds the energy for up to 10 minutes per martial adept level, until it is discharged or until the adept charges that weapon again. The martial adept’s weapon gains a number of charges equal to 3 + the adept’s Charisma bonus (if any). He does not have to use a charge every time the weapon hits an opponent. For melee weapons, the choice to use a charge or not is made as soon as the hit roll is confirmed to be a success, but before any damage dice are rolled. If the charge is on a ranged weapon then the martial adept must decide to use a charge before any to hit roll is made. If the attack misses then the charge is lost.

A martial adept may charge his own body with energy in place of a held weapon – if he does so then his unarmed strikes gain the bonus damage instead.

At 7th level charging a weapon only takes a move-equivalent action instead of a standard action. At 13th level, charging a weapon becomes a swift action.

The martial adept may use this ability a number of times per day equal to half his martial adept level (rounded down) plus his Charisma bonus.

If a weapon that has been charged is dropped or otherwise lost, the charges become inert until the martial adept retrieves the weapon. The original duration still applies. If the martial adept is dual wielding, each weapon may be charged separately. The adept may not have more than two active charges at any time, regardless of any other factors. If a third charge is applied while he has two active charges then the oldest charge is automatically lost. The effects of a charge depend on the level of the ability (as shown on table: The Martial Adept). Saving throw DC’s are equal to 10 + ½ the adept’s level + the adept’s Charisma bonus. An opponent must take damage from the element portion of the attack in order to suffer any additional effects (so energy resistance may or may not protect the target, whereas energy immunity will always protect against a secondary effect). If the target is vulnerable to that type of energy, then the DC on any saving throw is increased by +2 along with any extra damage they take.

Penalties of the same type are not cumulative (so if an opponent suffers two strikes from an ice charged weapon, only the most recent penalties would apply), and penalties to the same stat are not cumulative (so if an opponent suffers an ice and electric strike he would only suffer from one Dexterity penalty, not both). Negative effects last for one minute per adept level.


Weapon Charge (1).

  • Acid – adds d4 acid damage to the weapon strike, and sickens the target unless they make a Fortitude save. Sickened creatures suffer -2 Strength, and -1 to saving throws, skill checks and ability checks.
  • Electricity – adds d4 electricity damage to the weapon strike, and fatigues the target unless they make a Fortitude save. Fatigued creatures may not run or charge and suffer a -2 to both Strength and Dexterity.
  • Fire – adds d4 fire damage to the weapon strike, and deals an additional d4 burning damage on the following round.
  • Ice – adds d4 cold damage to the weapon strike, and entangles the target unless they make a Reflex save. Entangled creatures move 10% slower (minimum of 5’ reduction), may not run or charge, and suffer -2 Dexterity. Casting a spell takes a concentration check equal to the DC of the Reflex save.


Weapon Charge (2).

  • Acid – adds d6 acid damage to the weapon strike, and sickens the target unless they make a Fortitude save. Sickened creatures suffer -4 Strength, and -2 on saving throws, skill checks and ability checks.
  • Electricity – adds d6 electricity damage to the weapon strike, and fatigues the target unless they make a Fortitude save. Fatigued creatures may not run or charge and suffer a -4 to both Strength and Dexterity.
  • Fire – adds d6 fire damage to the weapon strike, and deals an additional d6 burning damage on the following round.
  • Ice – adds d6 cold damage to the weapon strike, and entangles the target unless they make a Reflex save. Entangled creatures move 25% slower (minimum of 5’ reduction), may not run or charge, and suffer -4 Dexterity. Casting a spell takes a concentration check equal to the DC of the Reflex save.


Weapon Charge (3).

  • Acid – adds 2d4 acid damage to the weapon strike, and sickens the target unless they make a Fortitude save. Sickened creatures suffer -6 Strength, and -3 to saving throws, skill checks and ability checks.
  • Electricity – adds 2d4 electricity damage to the weapon strike, and fatigues the target unless they make a Fortitude save. Fatigued creatures may not run or charge and suffer a -6 to both Strength and Dexterity.
  • Fire – adds 2d4 fire damage to the weapon strike, and deals an additional 2d4 burning damage on the following round.
  • Ice – adds 2d4 cold damage to the weapon strike, and entangles the target unless they make a Reflex save. Entangled creatures move 50% slower, may not run or charge, and suffer -6 Dexterity. Casting a spell takes a concentration check equal to the DC of the Reflex save.


Weapon Charge (4).

  • Acid – adds 2d6 acid damage to the weapon strike, and sickens the target unless they make a Fortitude save. Sickened creatures suffer -8 Strength, and -4 to saving throws, skill checks and ability checks.
  • Electricity – adds 2d6 electricity damage to the weapon strike, and fatigues the target unless they make a Fortitude save. Fatigued creatures may not run or charge and suffer a -8 to both Strength and Dexterity.
  • Fire – adds 2d6 fire damage to the weapon strike, and deals an additional 2d6 burning damage on the following round.
  • Ice – adds 2d6 cold damage to the weapon strike, and entangles the target unless they make a Reflex save. Entangled creatures move 75% slower, may not run or charge, and suffer -8 Dexterity. Casting a spell takes a concentration check equal to the DC of the Reflex save.


Weapon Charge (5) – at 20th level the charges last indefinitely until discharged or the martial adept rests, and the adept gains 3 + double the adept’s Charisma bonus (if positive) per application. Additionally, at 20th level charging a weapon becomes a free action.


Evasion (Ex): At 2nd level or higher, a martial adept can avoid damage from many area-effect attacks. If a martial adept makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, he instead takes no damage. Evasion can be used only if an adept is wearing no armor. A helpless martial adept does not gain the benefit of evasion.


Ability: At 2nd level, and every 2 levels thereafter, a martial adept may choose a new ability from the following list.


Clear Mind "(Ex)": A martial adept with this ability may reroll a failed Will save. This power is used as an immediate action after the first save is attempted, but before the results are revealed by the GM. The martial adept must take the second result, even if it is worse. An adept must be at least 8th level before selecting this power. This power can only be used once per encounter.

Combat Training: A martial adept that selects this ability gains a bonus combat feat.

Defensive Roll "(Ex)": With this advanced talent, a martial adept can roll with a potentially lethal blow to take less damage from it than he otherwise would. Once per day, when he would be reduced to 0 or fewer hit points by damage in combat (from a weapon or other blow, not a spell or special ability), the adept can attempt to roll with the damage. To use this ability, the adept must attempt a Reflex saving throw (DC = damage dealt). If the save succeeds, he takes only half damage from the blow; if it fails, he takes full damage. He must be aware of the attack and able to react to it in order to execute his defensive roll—if he is denied her Dexterity bonus to AC, he can't use this ability. Since this effect would not normally allow a character to make a Reflex save for half damage, the martial adept's evasion ability does not apply to the defensive roll. The adept must be at least 12th level to select this ability.

Dual Charge "(Sp)": The martial adept may hold up to two separate charges on the same weapon. Only one charge may be expended per hit, but the adept may choose which one is used.

Elemental Burst "(Sp)": By expending two charges on a successful hit, the martial adept can cause his elemental charge to affect any opponents within a 10’ radius. He may designate any targets within this area as safe as he sees fit.

Elemental Damage Bonus: Elemental charges from a martial adept with this ability deal an additional point of damage for every point of Weapon Charge that the adept has (so a 2nd level martial adept’s elemental charge would deal 1d4 + 1 points of damage; a 10th level martial adept’s charge would deal 2d4 + 3 points of damage). This only affects the initial damage, so a fire charge’s burn damage is not affected.

Enhanced Elemental Damage Dice: The martial adept’s elemental charge damage increases by one step for its level (so d4  d6  2d4  2d6  2d8). This only affects the initial damage, so a fire charge’s burn damage remains at the normal level.

Fast Climber "(Ex)": The martial adept adds his level to all Climb checks. In addition, he may move at double normal climbing speed.

Feat: A martial adept may gain any feat that he qualifies for in place of an ability. The martial adept must be at least 12th level to select this ability.

Finesse Fighter: A martial adept that selects this talent gains Weapon Finesse as a bonus feat.

High Jump "(Ex)": The martial adept adds his level to all jump checks, both for vertical jumps and horizontal jumps. In addition, he always counts as having a running start when making jump checks.

Ledge Walker "(Ex)": This ability allows the martial adept to move along narrow surfaces at full speed using the Balance skill without penalty. In addition, an adept with this talent is not flat-footed when using Balance to move along narrow surfaces.

Meditative Recovery "(Sp)": As a standard action, the martial adept heals 1d8 points of damage + his Charisma modifier. For every four levels the adept has attained above 4th, this amount of damage healed increases by 1d8, to a maximum of 5d8 at 20th level. This power can be used only once per day.

No Escape "(Ex)": The martial adept can move up to double his normal speed as an immediate action but he can only use this ability when an adjacent foe uses a withdraw action to move away from him. He must end his movement adjacent to the enemy that used the withdraw action. The martial adept provokes attacks of opportunity as normal during this movement. This power can only be used once per encounter.

Prone Crawl "(Ex)": While prone, a martial adept with this ability can move at half speed. This movement provokes attacks of opportunity as normal. An adept with this talent can take a 5-foot step while crawling.

Quick Reflexes "(Ex)": The adept can make one additional attack of opportunity per round.

Ranged Charge Recovery "(Su)": If the martial adept charges a missile weapon, then he may retain any charges that miss opponents within 30’.

Ranged Charge Recovery "(Su)": If the martial adept charges a missile weapon, then he may retain any charges that miss opponents within 30’.

Ranged Elemental Strike "(Sp)": The martial adept may use elemental charges as a thrown weapon. The charges have a range of 30’ and the adept must succeed in a ranged touch attack to hit. Any opponent hit takes the regular effects of the charge (so any talents the martial adept possesses that would enhance his elemental charges also apply to any ranged elemental strike). If the martial adept misses with a ranged charge, then the charge is lost as with a missile weapon (unless he also possesses the ranged charge recovery ability).

Slow Fall "(Ex)": If the martial adept is within arm's reach of a wall, he can use it to slow his descent. At 4th level, he takes damage as if the fall were 20 feet shorter than it actually is. The martial adept's ability to slow his fall (that is, to reduce the effective distance of the fall when next to a wall) improves by 10’ every 4 levels beyond 4th to a maximum of 60’ at 20th level. The martial adept must be at least 4th level to take this ability.

Stand Up "(Ex)": A martial adept with this ability can stand up from a prone position as a free action. This still provokes attacks of opportunity for standing up while threatened by a foe.

Swimming Expert "(Ex)": The martial adept adds his level to all swim checks. In addition, he may hold his breath for twice as long as usual.

Unexpected Strike "(Ex)": The martial adept can make an attack of opportunity against a foe that moves into any square threatened by the adept, regardless of whether or not that movement would normally provoke an attack of opportunity. This ability can only be used once per encounter. A martial adept must be at least 8th level before selecting this ability.

Weapon Training: A martial adept that selects this talent gains Weapon Focus as a bonus feat.


Improved Evasion (Ex): At 9th level, a martial adept's evasion ability improves. He still takes no damage on a successful Reflex saving throw against attacks, but henceforth he takes only half damage on a failed save. A helpless adept does not gain the benefit of improved evasion.


Timeless Body (Ex): At 17th level, a martial adept no longer takes penalties to his ability scores for aging and cannot be magically aged. Any such penalties that he has already taken, however, remain in place. Age bonuses still accrue, and the adept still dies of old age when his time is up.


Ex-martial adepts[edit]

Like a member of any other class, a martial adept may be a multiclass character, but multiclass adepts face a special restriction. A martial adept who gains a new class or (if already multiclass) raises another class by a level may never again raise his martial adept level, though he retains all his martial adept abilities.

Epic Martial Adepts[edit]

Table: The Epic Martial Adept

Hit Die: d8

Level Special
21st
22nd
23rd bonus feat
24th
25th
26th bonus feat
27th
28th
29th bonus feat
30th

4 + Int modifier skill points per level.

Bonus Feats: The epic Martial Adept gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic feats) every 3 levels after 20th.

Human Martial Adept Starting Package[edit]

Weapons: Choose: Longsword and Dagger, Longbow or Greatsword.

Skill Selection: Pick a number of skills equal to 5 + Int modifier.

Skill Ranks Ability
Balance 4 Dex
Escape Artist 4 Dex
Listen 4 Wis
Move Silently 4 Dex
Tumble 4 Dex

Feat: Choose between two-weapon fighting, point blank shot or power attack

Bonus Feats: Choose between ambidexterity, precise shot or cleave.

Gear: Basic travelling outfit, backpack, one week worth of iron rations, waterskin, flint & tinder.

Gold: 1d4.

Campaign Information[edit]

Playing a Martial Adept[edit]

Religion: Martial adepts have no particular affinity or aversion to religion. They may worship any god of their choosing.

Other Classes: Martial adepts get can get along well with any class.

Combat: The role of a martial adept in combat will vary somewhat based on the abilities and spells that he has chosen while advancing. With defensive spells and a high Constitution score, a martial adept can make a capable front line fighter. With mobility spells and abilities, he can skirmish and hit the enemy’s flanks. Using a ranged weapon focus and a few offensive spells he can be used as a ranged damage dealer and debuffer.

Advancement: Most martial adepts will prefer to stay single-classed due to the harsh multi-class penalty associated with the class.

Martial adepts in the World[edit]

<-Some quote from a character of this class->
—<-NPC name->, <-race-> <-class->

<-Where characters of this class fit in a d20 world.->

Daily Life: <-day in the life of a character of this class->.

Notables: <-notable NPCs of this class->.

Organizations: <-info on what, where, when, and how characters of this class congregate and assemble->.

NPC Reactions: <-How NPCs react to PCs of this class->.

<-class name-> Lore[edit]

Characters with ranks in <-the appropriate skills-> can research <-pluralized class name-> to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.

<-the appropriate skills->
DC Result
5 <-common knowledge->.
10 <-not so common knowledge->.
15 <-rare information->.
20 <-very rare information->.

<-pluralized class name-> in the Game[edit]

<-How characters of this class fit in the game (PC and NPC) and what roles they play.->

Adaptation: <-Possible variant conceptions of this class.->.

Sample Encounter: <-DM placement for NPCs of this class.->.

EL : <-Encounter scenario and character info on sample NPC including stat block. The CR of the NPC is typically the same as the EL for the encounter.->.



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